The Internet of Things (IoT) is definitely getting more mainstream – you can tell by the way the language changed at MWC.
IoT conversations are a lot less technical these days. They’re more about solving business problems, according to Kore’s Strategic Development VP, Gilli Coston, one of the ambassadors for IoT Global Network. Coston explained it by likening the technology sales cycle to the classic stages of grief.
First you’re in shock, then denial, after which there will be a period of bargaining until, finally, there comes the sweet moment of acceptance and moving on, says Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer.
You could begin to see this, in microcosm, in the halls of Mobile World Congress. Not far from Kore’s stand was a large demo area where Summit Tech was demonstrating its technology. I went through my own stages of grief as chief product officer, Ron Nessim went thundering through his presentation. We moved at high speed through a blizzard of acronyms. Soon I was in shock, at the range of technical complexity.
Then Nessim hit on something I recognised – rich communication services, and universal profile, the doors that open a whole new world of possibilities for everyone from mobile operators to systems integrators. But suddenly, we were plunged into a virtual world in which even the robots were slightly removed from reality.
These ‘bot bots’ could help the user to navigate their way around the virtual world and make it easier for users to choose services, such as conferences or watching a film. At this point, I found myself in a definite state of denial. Who needs this?
But then Nessim showed me into a demonstration connected car, and suddenly the IoT started to make sense as he described business problems that could be resolved. The combination of an intelligent dashboard on a car, a user’s mobile phone and the computer attached to the car engine could collaborate to create all kinds of possibilities.
The car’s computer can sense when someone is in the passenger seat, for example, and it will tell the dashboard unit which, when twinned with the driver’s Samsung Galaxy, could pre-warn anyone who phoned the driver.
Not only would the caller know, in advance, that the driver was on the road – and so likely to take the call on hands free – it would tip them off that there was someone in the passenger seat. Presumably you can configure the message to say: “No filthy jokes, I’ve got a client with me in the car.”
I found myself in the Bargaining stage of IoT grief, as I begged him to explain it all again in more detail.
The Intelligent Car – which has effectively got two computerised butlers conspiring to resolve any difficulties – creates endless possibilities. It can stop fatal distractions by sensing when you are on the move and blocking incoming text messages. It will be a boon to the emergency services, because the clever car will know to automatically switch a camera on to record events, can help operators to direct ambulances and can even tell which detective is skiving off most.
Onboard diagnostics will be able to identify which parts of a car are likely to go next, pre-order their replacements and even book an appointment at the local garage. So, the company car fleet will be far less expensive and time consuming to manage.
The beauty of Summit Tech’s offering is that it makes it possible to convert many existing vehicles into connected cars. As long as there is a Double Pin-sized hole in the dashboard, there’s the potential for an on-dashboard machine to be installed in this space. Over the last two years, the GSMA has helped create a foundation on which mobile operators and developers can create all kinds of systems using rich communications services.
Companies like Summit Tech take care of all the grim stuff that developers don’t really want know about (the syntaxes native to IMS, RCS, SIM and VoLTE) through its software developer’s kit. They don’t have to talk technical language any more, they can just get on with tackling the business problems. In other words, IoT is coming out of the final stages of grief, which is where we start to move on.
The author of this blog is Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer.
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